My first introduction to Zonta was through Anna Weselak, and I was incredibly pleased to learn that they STAND up and MAKE a DIFFERENCE in women’s lives, all over the world. Although when the organization began in 1919, it’s was largely focused on “women’s rights”–when I toured the World headquarters, visited and listened this week, I heard from current members that they are very concerned about “Human Rights”, that is, the right of ALL humans, not just women. Although they take a special effort to recognize and support women’s issues, it seems that many Zonta members are in tune with the fact that many MEN and WOMEN are not receiving the basic human rights that we all should have.
In case like me, you are a novice, here is more from the website:
Zonta International is a leading global organization of professionals empowering women worldwide through service and advocacy.
Zonta International envisions a world in which women’s rights are recognized as human rights and every woman is able to achieve her full potential.
In such a world, women have access to all resources and are represented in decision making positions on an equal basis with men.
In such a world, no woman lives in fear of violence. (emphasis is mine).
Zonta International’s story does not end here. Today, Zonta International is a global organization of nearly 30,000 members in 1,200 Zonta clubs in 66 countries. As we prepare to celebrate our 100th anniversary in 2019, we look back on some of the most significant milestones in our rich history of empowering women worldwide through service and advocacy.
1919 – Convention of Zonta Clubs founded in Buffalo, New York, USA. Mary Jenkins is elected first president.
1920 – Zonta colors and emblem are adopted and the first issue of The Zontian is published.
1923 – The first international project is funded to care for 115,000 orphan children and women in Smyrna, Turkey.
1927 – The first club outside the US is formed in Toronto, Canada.
1930 – “Zonta International” name is adopted as the first European club is established in Vienna, Austria.
1938 – The Amelia Earhart Fellowship is established in honor of the Zontian after her disappearance in 1937.
1948 – The first Z and Golden Z clubs are founded in Burbank, California, USA.
1963 – Zonta International is granted roster-level status by the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
1968 – Zonta International elects Helvi Sipilä as the first International President outside of the US. Contributions reach 1 million USD.
1970 – Zonta International elects Angie Brooks-Rudolph as its first International Honorary Member.
1975 – Zonta International President Eleanor Jammal and UN Committee Chairman Harriette Yeckel serve as Zonta’s official delegates to the UN International Women’s Year Conference in Mexico City, Mexico and Helvi Sipilä serves as secretary-general.
1983 – Zonta is granted consultative status with the Council of Europe
1984 – Zonta International Foundation is established
1986 – Zonta International becomes the first NGO to support UNIFEM (United Nations Development Fund for Women) and continues to support.
1987 – Zonta International dedicates their first world headquarters building in Chicago, Illinois, USA.
1990 – The Young Women in Public Affairs Award is established.
1998 – Zonta welcomes its 1,000th club, Lomo, Togo. Zonta International Strategies to End Violence Against Women project (ZISVAW) is adopted as an on-going program. The Jane M. Klausman Women In Business Scholarship is established.
2012 – Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women annual campaign launches
2014 – “Empowering Women Through Service and Advocacy” slogan adopted
I am especially pleased to learn that each Zonta member gives service hours each year, and that each Chapter supports a couple of organizations. In my area, that is the Family Shelter Service and Poised for Success (at least for this year).
Although I have never considered myself a “feminist”, I do believe in equal rights for both women and men, and also teach a weekly group for women who are survivors or victims of domestic violence.
I have grave concerns that the administration of the USA taking over this month will waylay our progress to this end, and that women (in particular) will be “set back” in our efforts for much deserved equality and balance. I am pleased to know that an organization like Zonta exists, and that they will fight to keep all humans benefiting from the rights that they do indeed have.
More pictures from headquarters: